I remember the conversation well.
My dad sat down in my bedroom and said, “Son, I need to talk to you.” Quickly I began to think through the day. “What have I done?” I thought. Dad didn’t come and talk to me in such somber tones unless I was in trouble.
As it turned out, it was worse than if I had done something wrong.
Dad was not there to punish me, but to tell me about a decision he and mom had made. He said, “We have decided that you are going to take piano lessons.”
Keep in mind that he was talking to an 8-year-old boy. The only thing that could have been worse would have been … actually, I couldn’t think of anything worse.
“But, Dad, I don’t want to take piano lessons,” I replied as calmly as I could.
He said to me, “You’ll notice that I didn’t say I would like for you to take lessons. I said that you are going to take lessons.”
I repeated myself, “I don’t want to take piano lessons.”
His reply to that was, “Your objection has been duly noted. You start next week. And Mom says supper is ready.”
I could not believe my ears. I was going to be forced to do the unimaginable. I was a baseball player, a fisherman — all boy all the time. Boys didn’t play the piano!
How could my parents be so cruel? And why did I not have a choice in the matter? What was I going to do? Could I report them to the police? Could I find another home with new parents?
To make a long story short, I took piano lessons for more than seven years. I still sit down and play from time to time. If you listen carefully, you can even recognize Floyd Kramer’s “Last Date” when I play it.
I’m glad my parents did not ask my opinion about the matter. They had a plan that involved me doing different things for my own good, even if I did not want to. Dad was not interested in being my best friend that day. He was too busy being my father.
The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” There are many applications to that verse, but this one is clear. It is the task of the parent to be the parent.
We are to teach and train our children. We have wisdom they do not have. We have knowledge and experience they do not have.
The Bible does say, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children…” But we must know this: To guide our children in the right ways is not to exasperate them. Parents may have to make their children do things they do not want to do. That’s okay. That is God’s plan. That’s why he made you a parent.
Do what is best for your child, even over all objections. All of you will be glad that you did.